A Brief Introduction
Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis is one of the most interesting documents of Roman imperial times. No other single text can convey as vivid an impression of the impact of an imperial persecution upon the individual, from arrest, to courtroom, to prison, to execution in the amphitheatre. The text also provides wonderful material on the dreams of the martyrs and their expectations and fears of death and the afterlife. This introductory chapter first examines various aspects of the text, such as its authorship and manuscript tradition, in order to gain a better understanding of its various aspects and thus improve our understanding of the text as a whole. It then draws attention to ways we can ‘think with’ this text. How should we approach this text? What can it mean to us today in a time of persecutions and martyrdoms? The text in its original and translated version is also provided at the end of the chapter.
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